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October is National Depression Awareness Month

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 by Diane Lang



It's National Depression Awareness Month and one of the most important things we can do is have an emotional toolbox for when times are tough.

We all need ways to de-stress and self-soothe. We hear from many others how to do it but de-stressing and self-soothing are different for everyone. There are so many ways but the best way is what works for you, what feels right for you. 

I’m offering 14 different tools to keep in your toolbox to use when things get tough. Pick and choose what works for you, then, pass the rest along. If you have any other tools you use, please send them to me so I can share them with my readers. If it works for you, it can work for others.

1. The morning dump – take a few minutes every morning to write out what’s on your mind, what you are feeling, what’s stressing you, etc. When writing do it without judgment or grammar/spell-check. It’s just a way to dump what is weighing on your mind and causing stress.

2. 1-2-3 technique – a very simple breathing technique to help you reduce stress and nervousness. Breathe in through your nose for a count of three, hold for a count of three and exhale through your mouth for a count of three. It’s very easy to remember. If you do a count of 2 or 4 instead, it’s fine just breathe.

3. Mindfulness to bring you back to the here and now so you do not stay focused on past baggage or worry about the future. Go for a walk. Science has proven the best way to get mindfulness is by walking. A nice paced walk will help you clear the clutter from your head and de-stress. We know mindfulness and meditation is the only natural way to de-stress. Meditation and Mindfulness will help us to pause and reboot.

4. Your “flow” activities to take you outside of yourself – what activities do you love that gives you a sense of timelessness?

5. Random acts of kindness – nothing like doing for others to make yourself feel good and boost your self-esteem.

6. Get grounded by walking through the grass or sand with bare feet. Feel nature on your felt while you use your physical senses to calm you. What do you hear? See in Nature? Smell? Touch? For kids: have them lay down in the grass and have them explain what they feel, see, touch, hear, etc.

7. Talk it out- we all need to get our emotions out. Make sure you have a strong support system. We all need 1 or 2 people we trust and love unconditionally. If not a counselor, life coach or spiritual adviser can work

8. Music is a great way to change your mood instantly. Having a stressful day, play some music that makes you feel good.



9. When we are having a bad day and want to change our mood, we can do it through memories/experiences. Sit down and close your eyes. Visualize a happy time in your life, it could be a party, vacation, etc. It doesn’t matter how long ago it was. Your brain can’t tell the difference between a memory that happen last week or twenty years ago. When we visualize and remember a happy time, it brings happiness to the surface and changes our mood.

10. Laugh, spoon, cuddle, hug, smile… they all produce endorphins “The Happy Chemical”

11. Chew gum – sugarless of course! Chewing gum improves our moods and memory.

12. Gratitude -gratitude cultivates mindfulness and happiness while re-training your brain to go from negative to positive. I have my clients every night before bed do a gratitude check. All you have to do is say or write down 2-3 things you're grateful for that happen today. It helps you to see and focus on the good in your day.

13. Unplug from social media – social media causes FOMO (fear of missing out). When we scroll through social media we start comparing ourselves to others which can make us feel worse about ourselves.

14. Watch your nighttime thinking -whatever you think 15-20 minutes before bed affects if we sleep, how we sleep and what mood we wake up in the morning. No news at night. The News makes us feel sad and fearful. Instead, do your gratitude and/or meditate, they are part of a healthy nightly routine.


About the Author


Diane Lang  

As a Therapist, Educator and Positive Living Expert, Diane has dedicated her career to helping people turn their lives around and is now on a mission to help them develop a sustainable positive attitude that can actually turn one into an optimist, literally.

Through her three books, “Creating Balance & Finding Happiness”, “ Baby Steps: the Path from Motherhood to Career ” and “  Mindfully Happy- waking up to life.”   Diane has been speaking and empowering people nationwide. She is also an Adjunct in Psychology at Montclair State University, where her college work includes mentoring students for personal issue advisement.

As an expert in her fields of therapy, Lang has been featured in the Daily Record, Family Circle, Family Magazine, Working Mother Magazine, and Cookie Magazine, seen on NJ 12 TV, Good day CT, Style CT, The Veira Network, CBS TV and “Fox & Friends”.  She has also participated in a reality-based Internet show, ourprisoner.com, hosted Generation X-tinet. To find more please visit http://dlcounseling.com/


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